Wrongful Termination

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Calabasas Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Experienced Lawyers Advocating for Your Rights as an Employee in California

In California, if you are terminated for an unlawful reason, you may be entitled to recover damages. Our lawyers at Gaines & Gaines fight hard for those who have been fired because of:

  • Race, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or some other protected classification
  • Opposition to some unlawful activity (whistleblowing)
  • Demanding overtime, rest breaks, or lunch breaks
  • Requesting an accommodation
  • Taking pregnancy leave
  • Taking family and/or medical leave
  • Refusal to enter an unsafe workplace
  • Political affiliation or taking time to vote
  • Marital or family status
  • Refusing to sign an unlawful non-compete clause
  • Serving jury duty

We have over 5 decades of experience representing employees and consumers, and we will put our years of legal knowledge to use as we build a strong case for compensation due to your wrongful termination. There are a number of legal remedies you may pursue, and our wrongful termination lawyers in Calabasas can guide you through your options.

Schedule an initial consultation with Gaines & Gaines online or by calling (866) 400-4450 to get started.

California’s Wrongful Termination Laws

In California, most employment relationships are “at will.” At will employment means that the employer and/or the employee may terminate the employment relationship for any reason, with or without cause. Basically, this means employers can technically be jerks without being sued. However, there is an exception to this inculpable termination when the reason for termination violates the law or specific language in the employment contract. 

In particular, an exception to at will employment termination is when there is some unlawful motivation or retaliatory reason for the termination, such as terminating an employee because they requested pregnancy leave or overtime. In such a case, the employer has violated their employees’ rights against discrimination and rights to overtime pay.

Alternatively, an employer might also violate the rules of at will employment if there is an employment contract that has a specified term (e.g., number of years the employee will remain) or certain conditions that are to be met, and that contract is breached when the employer fires them before the specified term. This, too, may give rise to a claim of wrongful termination.

Damages Recoverable After Wrongful Termination in California

Wrongful termination can cause significant harm to an individual's career, finances, and emotional well-being. Fortunately, California law provides avenues for employees who have been wrongfully terminated to seek compensation for their losses. When pursuing legal action for wrongful termination, it's crucial to understand the types of damages that may be recoverable. Here are some of the damages that individuals may be entitled to after a wrongful termination:

  • Lost Wages: One of the primary forms of damages recoverable after wrongful termination is lost wages. This includes the income that the individual would have earned from the time of termination until the resolution of the case. Additionally, if the termination resulted in difficulty finding new employment or a decrease in earning capacity, these losses may also be included in the calculation.
  • Back Pay: In cases where the termination was unlawful, the employee may be entitled to back pay, which compensates them for the wages they would have earned from the date of termination to the date of the court judgment or settlement.
  • Front Pay: In some instances, it may not be feasible for the employee to return to their previous position or employer. In such cases, they may be awarded front pay, which compensates for the future loss of income and benefits resulting from the wrongful termination.
  • Benefits: Wrongful termination can also result in the loss of valuable benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and stock options. Employees may be entitled to compensation for the value of these lost benefits.
  • Emotional Distress: Being wrongfully terminated can take a significant toll on an individual's emotional well-being, causing stress, anxiety, and depression. In California, employees may seek damages for emotional distress resulting from the wrongful termination.

Constructive Wrongful Termination

Another form of wrongful termination is called “constructive wrongful termination.” This is when the employee is not fired but quits because the conditions are so horrible, or they have been effectively forced out or left no option. California law states that if conditions or treatment are so severe that a reasonable person could not consider continuing to work in the environment any further, then they may quit and seek damages for their lost wages.

Can You Quit and Sue After an Incident?

Of course, case law recognizes that employees cannot merely quit and sue after a simple incident of harassment or because some condition is less than perfect. Employees are expected to use any available reporting mechanism to attempt to resolve their employment issues before quitting. Failure to try and remedy the situation before quitting may prevent an employee from succeeding with their lawsuit.

 However, if an employee has complained and/or requested relief and nothing changes (or it gets worse), they may quit and seek compensation for their lost wages. All complaints and efforts to get relief from the conduct should be well documented.

Be aware that those who have suffered unlawful conduct in violation of their rights under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (e.g., discrimination or harassment based on membership in a protected classification) must file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), generally within 1 year of the conduct, or they may lose their right to pursue legal action for this conduct.

Put an Experienced Professional on Your Side

Reach out to the legal team at Gaines & Gaines to get started on your case of wrongful termination with an experienced professional. Whether you have been unlawfully terminated or had to resign due to unfair conditions, we can help you build a strong case for damages and lost wages. Our lawyers advocate exclusively for employees and consumers, so you can trust that we will strategize your case with your best interests in mind.

Call (866) 400-4450 schedule an initial consultation with Gaines & Gaines online to discuss your next legal steps.


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